Estranged Family Question


#1

Hi all,

Since it is going on the holidays, this has been on my mind. Is it worth it to pursue a relationship with family members who have become estranged? Is it asking for trouble (let sleeping dogs lie and all of that...) or might it be a healing experience? Any comments, experiences, or ideas? :shrug:

-Hope


#2

*Oh, it could be a wonderful healing experience. I think it depends on what has caused the estrangement. I look at my husband’s two brothers, who have been literally feuding for over 10 yrs. It started over a business venture that went sour, one accusing the other of making more money. Really, that’s the gist of it. And the older brother refuses to mend the fence. The younger brother has tried. It’s so silly to me. But, if it’s something like that, where years have passed, it is never too late to say one’s sorry, and to move forward. I think that that is what Christmas is all about, too–renewal. :slight_smile:

I think that it’s always important to mend fences…even if you’re not the one who caused the broken fence to begin with. I’d be the one to reach out, if years have passed, and just say hello…wishing you a nice holiday, let’s put what happened behind us. If the person hangs to phone up on you…well, you tried. :o*


#3

It does depend on the type of person...unfortunately some people truly enjoy bringing chaos and drama into the lives of family and this is only an invitation for more pain. Other times..the other person may have had their hand on the phone countless times wanting to call and said things unspoken but have thought you didn't want to hear from them and when you reach out they are so happy.
I will say, a thoughtful Christmas card with some recent photos of you and family is an easy way to let someone know you are thinking of them without feeling to vunerable or introducing too much drama around holiday times.


#4

Annually, at the same time/holiday, like clockwork for as long as it takes, even if it never takes. It must not be your choice to remained estranged, you must be the catalyst for change and acceptance, “70x7” is the calibration of attempts/efforts required by Jesus, in His own words in pursuing foregiveness. Be like Jesus and step forward and offer forgiveness, reconciliation, UN-estrangement. If you are rejected, know that Jesus was rejected, and come back next year and try again.


#5

Depends... two of my uncles are estranged from the family (BIG family!:thumbsup:). But for VERY good reasons. One's in self-exile because of how much he hates his father. One was force, the reason being a certain thing with his stepsister:(. Uncle One could be forgiven and we would gladly take him back (but as of yet, Grandpa's many near-death, heart problem operations have not brought uncle around.) Uncle Two... no way. There's certain things which cross the line. Just as predators cannot live in school zones, so can this sicko not live in this family. Forgiveness, definitely! But just because the good criminal showed Jesus his sorrow for what he'd done, he still kept being crucified. Just like many death penalty people convert, they still must face the consequences of their actions. Just like we may be ready for heaven save for one attatchment to sin, we still have to get rid of it in purgatory so we can actually enjoy heaven. Not to mention we must look out for our other little family members.

But anyway... my point is that it depends on how serious their actions were


#6

I’m not trying to sound harsh, but personally, I would seriously let sleeping dogs lie. We have this problem with my husbands side of the family and everytime I/we’ve tried to do something it’s made it worse. If the estranged people come to you asking to try to fix it then that’s one thing - but other than that let it go. It could be good but from my experience you could wind up being upset or worried during the holidays over something which you can’t control (you can control yourself but not the people you’re estranged from) -Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. Also you have to think about what would happen if everything that caused the estrangement got rehashed - how would that effect not only you but those around you. Would you be able to keep this to yourself if another huge fight occured or would you need to tell others. Personally, I wouldn’t risk messing up the holidays for the family. That time with them is something you can’t get back and it can also put many on edge which is the last place you want to be during the holidays.

God Bless
Rye


#7

it depends on the reason for the estrangement.
if it was a matter of one person separating themselves from an abusive situation, from a manipulative relative, from a relative who threatened a marriage or parent-child relationship, or other toxic situation, a unilateral approach might not be healthy at this time. If it was just a matter of growing distance and neglect of the relationship, holidays are often a good time to make overtures and invitations. Yes it could be healing, but if the underlying reason for the separation have never been addressed they could jump up and bite you.


#8

Hi all,

Thanks for the thought-provoking answers. The thing that keeps nagging at me is what if this goes on and on and something happens to the person estranged or one of the other family members and the opportunity for reconciliation is lost forever? Would the regret of not being able to talk to them and tell them what’s on our heart be worth the “peace” we now have? :shrug:

For one example, I haven’t spoken to my father (very abusive relationship between he and my mom) in about 10 years. I have since gotten married and had a child. He’s getting older and he may be sick and towards the end of his jouney here. I would love to talk to him, tell him what’s happening in my life, but other family members tell me it’s “not worth it”. Who is right? :confused:

-Hope


#9

[quote="HopeInChrist, post:8, topic:176855"]
Hi all,

Thanks for the thought-provoking answers. The thing that keeps nagging at me is what if this goes on and on and something happens to the person estranged or one of the other family members and the opportunity for reconciliation is lost forever? Would the regret of not being able to talk to them and tell them what's on our heart be worth the "peace" we now have? :shrug:

For one example, I haven't spoken to my father (very abusive relationship between he and my mom) in about 10 years. I have since gotten married and had a child. He's getting older and he may be sick and towards the end of his jouney here. I would love to talk to him, tell him what's happening in my life, but other family members tell me it's "not worth it". Who is right? :confused:

-Hope

[/quote]

*
I think of it like this, if Pope JP2 could forgive the man who shot him, and visit him in prison...if Christ could forgive those who tortured Him...then, we should try to forgive those who have hurt us. That doesn't mean we have to become best friends with the person/people who hurt us, but maybe picking the phone up with your dad, just seeing how he is...it can't hurt. If he is rude to you, again, you know you tried. Forgiveness sets us free and it opens us up to more love in our life, if the other person/people wish to give it. I think that you can't rely on others to direct you with that, if they are telling you ''it's not worth it,'' you don't know how they approached it. You're different from them. I think that only you can decide what you're comfortable with, but I think when we look at the example of Christ, we learn that forgiveness is essential to being a follower of Him, and not speaking to people for what they did years ago, now THAT is not worth it. It probably takes a lot of energy out of you, to not speak to him, more than it might to speak with him, and open the lines of communication up again. Not saying you sweep under the carpet how he treated your mom.

I look at the situation I mentioned with my husband's brothers...the older brother's anger seeps into everything he does...he is not the happy-go-lucky guy he used to be, since harboring this resentment and ceasing of speaking to his brother. I think it takes a lot more energy to purposely not call someone, than it does to open up the lines of communication.

This is just my two cents. I hope things work out for you this Christmas season, blessings to you and your family. :hug1:*


#10

I would try. At least you’ll know you did and won’t have what if’s lurking when he passes.


#11

Hi there maybe you should give it 1 last chance with your dad and if he messes up atleast you tried and your concience will be clear. My father died at the beginning of this year and i would go through a needle eye just to talk to him and tell him i love him and that i am sorry he was alone when he died. My guilt is raw. My grandmother died two years before him she was like a mother to me i miss them both with all of my heart, the only thing that keeps me sane is they were good christian people and i know that god would have welcomed them into the kingdom of heaven.It is at this time of year i miss them more. If i were you listen to what your heart tells you to do and that will surley keep you right. Good luck.:frowning:


#12

I agree with you! My fiance’s family doesn’t like me at all, for whatever reasons, before everything was fine, the excuses his mother started using was that she didn’t like the way I was raising my kids?! Whatever… And that’s how it’s stayed…For whatever reasons! I am sad because fiance won’t go talk to his mother, he doesn’t care, he calls his dad once in a great while but that’s it, just to say hi and whatever… There won’t be any Christmas with them, no Happy Holidays no happy bdays nothing, and fiance won’t accept me telling them about the baby… I don’t even know how he will tell them they will be grandparents!! I feel sorry for him and sorry for the baby…Now my other kids only have my parents as grandparents and this baby will too! :frowning: It’s ok though…My family love my kids! :smiley:

I haven’t told my parents about the baby yet, waiting till after Christmas, was thinking of sending them a Happy New Year card with the baby’s ultrasound in it and saying Congrats you’re gonna b grandparents! LOL I don’t know sounds like a good way of breaking the ice, what do you think? lol

Back to let old dogs lie, I think it’s the best way to go…I know I miss my future ils but you know that’s how they wanted things to be and that’s how they are going to get it…Maybe after they find out a baby is on the way they might recapacitate??? Who knows you know?! AS for the OP if it’s something that happened many many years ago maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to send them a card? See how that goes?! Something simple not over dramatic or anything…And not bringing up old stuff! you know?

Maybe in a few years I would be able to start talking to them as well even though “I’m an instigator!” :shrug:

Anyhow, hope you can relax and enjoy your Holidays and don’t worry about family problems the best thing you can do is enjoy the family you have whom you can share with you know?! GOD bless and Happy Holidays!


#13

Hi all,

Happy Thanksgiving (almost)! I am just a worrier by nature. It’s my heart that’s telling me that I should reach out, but my head is putting up a big STOP sign. My mother and father had a horrendous relationship. My father and I never really got along too well either, but now that I’m a mother, and can see the value of the relationship, I wonder if it would be good to send him a card or something. But maybe it opens old wounds that he would prefer to leave alone. I didn’t tell him when I got married or had the baby. I felt good about that decision then, but now I worry that I did the wrong thing. It was for my mother’s peace of mind for sure, but what about mine? I would just feel so rotten if he passed, and I didn’t get to tell him that I love him and certainly have forgiven him. :hug1:

There are other family issues as well. It must be an epidemic of SIL, MIL issues. :frowning: My MIL and I have a love/hate relationship. My husband’s brother and brother’s wife moved away a long time ago due to some family arguments, and we have had a tentative relationship with them, too. That bothers me since we all have children. Should we leave this “feud” for our children to clean up? :knight2:

I think what I’m going to do is send them all a Christmas card with a family picture in it and my love. If something comes of it from there. If not, I know I did all I could do.

I just have to keep telling myself that the Cleavers don’t exist in our world anymore.

Thank you again for your support. :thumbsup:

In His Love,

Hope


#14

Do you KNOW that your bil and sil moved away due to family conflict/situation or is it that his/her job was the reason for the move? I believe you know the answer to that one. You’re right the Cleavers don’t exist anymore - what do you view as having caused this estrangement?
God Bless
Rye


#15

Excuse me? Yes, I know why they moved away. That’s not the point, here. What caused the estrangement is not at issue here, it’s the relationship now that i’m talking about.

-Hope


#16

The reason I mentioned this is that you said “My husband’s brother and brother’s wife moved away a long time ago due to some family arguments, and we have had a tentative relationship with them, too.” - are you sure this is the reason they moved and not because of employment?
God Bless
Rye


#17

Ryecroft,

Again, this is not important. I'm talking about the relationships now. What happened is in the past. I'm just wondering if I should contact my estranged family members during the holidays to try to heal some of the hurts. I now know what I'm going to, and thank all of you for your responses. You've helped me a lot in this matter. :D

-Hope


#18

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